So, a comment on my previous post got me thinking a bit. So let me put forth an assertion.
Exhortation is a Red Herring.
For the past few years there has been this back and forth over exhortation. And then there's all these discussions of what is exhorted and how and all that. There's even the idea of how we need to preach more like our fathers in the faith.
May I make a simple suggestion instead of worrying about exhortation or uses of the Law or anything like that?
Here you go.
"Textual 2nd Person Indicative Preaching"
As Preachers, we are not to be giving our own thoughts. When we preach, we ought to be able to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord" - otherwise we've got no business preaching. Thus, our preaching is to be textual.
But we are not dealing with abstractions. We are not dealing with mere facts or ideas or trends. We are sent to specific congregations... we are sent to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord to you."
2nd person. This Law is speaking to you. You are not to do this, you are to do this. Atah ha-ish. You are the man.
2nd person. The Gospel is for you. Christ has died for you. He will raise you from the dead, and your own eyes will see and not another.
Indicative. We preach what is real. Your sin is real. Your sorrows are real. Your pain is real. Christ Jesus is real. He has died, He has risen, and this is for you. Christ has claimed you in baptism. He gives you forgiveness and life in His Supper.
All indicative. No might, no may, no could... we aren't dealing with the optional - we are dealing with reality. Indicative.
+ + + + + + + +
So there's my thoughts on preaching. Stick with the text. 2nd person. Indicative.
And all this other junk will take care of itself.
(Edit: Probably need to add in Christological, as I tend to think the text is about Christ... but that's perhaps another discussion)